Has Tuukka Rask Been Worth the Money?
Boston, MA - When the Boston Bruins won the Stanley Cup in 2011, they did so on the back of Tim Thomas, a lights out goalie who seemed like the tender of the future for the Bruins going forward. But Bruins fans with a keen eye noticed that backup goaltender Tuukka Rask had a lot of potential and with some off-ice issues with Thomas, it seemed like Rask could wind up being the Bruins goalie of the 2010s - and beyond.
This came to fruition in 2013 when Rask saved 92.7% of shots on goal during the regular season before upping this to 94% during the playoffs. Because of his excellent performance, the Bruins inked Rask to an eight year contract extension worth fifty-six million dollars. It's a big contract to offer to the goalie, especially when considering that up until that point, Rask only had one season where he played in more than half of the season's games. And while he has been placed in goal much more often since that extension, there has still not yet been a season where Rask topped seventy games played out of the maximum of eighty-two. And with a consistently dipping save percentage and his contract over halfway completed, the question must be asked: has Tuukka Rask been worth the contract?
After signing the deal, Rask advanced to a save percentage of 93% in the 2013-14 season, but has never topped his 2012-13 save percentage since then. He declined precipitously to two consecutive seasons of 91.5% before bumping back to 91.7% last year. However, the most noteworthy dip came in the 2018 post-season when Rask posted a less than ideal save percentage of 90.3%.
Advanced metrics show that Rask has more often than not been considered among the bottom half of goaltenders in terms of the advantages they bring to their teams. However, there's a lot to be said for a goalie that can bring consistency to the team, even if he is not a game changer himself. Yes, Rask is overpaid and yes, the Bruins could probably find a better goalie if they wanted to. But my heart says, Rask is right where he belongs.